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Department of Labor implements new rules on civil penalties

The government is equipped with multiple tools to convince companies that complying with labor laws is cheaper than trying to avoid them. The government does this through a variety of agencies from the Department of Labor to the Internal Revenue Service. One of these tools is "civil penalties." A civil penalty is a forfeiture of money to the government when a company violates one of the rules. Unfortunately, many of these civil forfeiture laws were passed over 20 years ago and they were not pegged to inflation.

Inflation is the gradual devaluing of currency such that a dollar today is worth less than it was 50 years ago. Since the civil penalties were not pegged to inflation, they slowly lost their "bite" as inflation slowly eroded their effectiveness. The result has been a series of penalties that are far cheaper to pay than obey the law.

Luckily, Congress rectified this situation with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. The Act allows all federal agencies to increase penalties to ensure that they keep pace with inflation. The Act also allows agencies to "catch-up" this summer to make up for lost value due to past inflation.

The result has been a 78 percent increase in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration?s civil penalties. This ensures that when you report unsafe work condition to OSHA, your employer will pay attention to the OSHA investigator. The Department of Labor?s other agencies are also increasing their penalties to ensure that all employers comply with labor laws.

If you believe that your employer has refused to implement safe work practicess then you may want to speak to an attorney.  Then number one concern of every employer should be the safety of its employees and customers. In furtherance of that goal, the government regularly inspects job sites to ensure that they are safe. An attorney can review your situation and recommend a course of action. It could be asking OSHA to investigate or it could be filing your own lawsuit. Safety should be your boss?s concern but ultimately it is up to you and your co-workers to keep everyone safe.

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Law Offices of William W. Green & Associates
505 S. Villa Real
Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-464-6903
Toll Free: 866-543-7598
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